Jack Slap

So you’re probably thinking you have it all figured out. You know just where this story’s going and where it will end. Well, if you do, you know more than I did when it was happening. Sometimes things happen that cause you to pause and look at your life from a different perspective. That’s happened to you hasn’t it? No? You’re not like most people, huh. Everything comes to you easy in life without any effort on your part you just come out of every bad situation smelling good, like a rose, like fresh bread from the oven and a newborn baby’s breath.

Well not in my world. In my world you have to take the good with the bad, and what you get is mostly bad. You try to see the good in others, and they end up slapping you in the face. They might not do it physically, but they do it in other ways and it causes the same pain. It comes at you quickly and strikes you fast, sharp, and hard. You try to turn your face away quickly to avoid it, but you’re not fast enough. Sometimes you get a backhand slap. Other times you get the double whammy. You know the one, it’s called the ‘Jack slap,’ the one that the good book says you need to turn the other cheek for. I’ve turned for it. A lot. Over and over again and it still has the same fast, sharp, and hard impact as it did the first time I got slapped.

Grandma Brady quoted the bible verses. That’s how come I know that the bible tells us to take slaps from people. And I know the bible is called “the good book” because Grandma always started the bible verses with “The good book says” because to her, the bible was a good book.

Now Grandpa Brady, on the other hand, told me that if somebody slapped me and I didn’t slap them back that he was gonna slap me too because “no blood of mine is gonna get slapped without fighting back.” Course, Grandpa didn’t go to church or read the bible. He felt that God was wherever he was, and people didn’t have to be in a church building to communicate with him. Neither one of them told me that sometimes the slap wasn’t physical. They didn’t warn me about the invisible slap. Neither did their daughter, Shelia, who didn’t talk about the good book at all.

Shelia Brady. That’s my mama. She is one tough cookie. She don’t take no jive from nobody. Raising us on her own made her that way I guess. I love my mama, but sometimes, like my sister Jean, she gets on my nerves. Not because she does what a mother is supposed to do in regard to discipline and keeping me out of trouble. It’s because she keeps trying to make me act like a “lady” when I just want to act like “me.”

Jean is the prissy one. She likes dresses, make-up, the high heels, the fuss. When I wear dresses, I put a pair of shorts under them so that if I forget to close my legs when sitting down I won’t show “everything God gave” me, as Shelia would say. My lipstick is Vaseline. And I prefer sneakers and flat shoes. Sneakers come in handy when you sometimes have to run away from a Jack Slap. Sometimes I slap back. Just as hard, sharp, and fast, but it still ain’t good enough to ease the force of the one I’ve received. Still, I try. Just like my mama. I try.